March 15, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind. - The Notre Dame hockey team will begin preparations on Monday afternoon for the CCHA Championships, knowing that they will face the Northern Michigan Wildcats. That game will be played on Friday, March 20 at Joe Louis Arena with faceoff set for 4:35 p.m. The game will be televised by live by FSN-Detroit.
The Wildcats, who finished in sixth place during the regular season advanced by knocking off third-place finisher, Miami, on Sunday night, 3-1, in game three of that series in Oxford, Ohio. Northern Michigan lost the series opener, 3-2, on Friday night, then won in overtime on Saturday, 3-2. In tonight's game, the Wildcats took a 2-0 lead into the third period on goals by Mark Olver (shg) and Mike Maltese. Freshman defenseman Will Weber cut the lead to 2-1 late in the third period only to be answered by a Nick Sirota empty-net goal for the 3-1 win. Wildcat goaltender Brian Stewart made 41 saves for the Wildcats who were out shot, 42-19, in the game. The win improves them to 18-16-5 on the season.
Notre Dame faced Northern four times in 2008-09, winning all four contests. The last time the two teams met was Feb. 13-14 at the Joyce Center with the Irish taking 9-5 and 5-2 wins. The Wildcats lead the all-time series with a 20-18-5 record. Notre Dame is 8-2-0 in the last 10 meetings. One of those losses came in the CCHA third-place game last March at Joe Louis Arena with Northern Michigan defeating the Irish, 2-1.
Coach Jeff Jackson and his team are making their third consecutive trip to Joe Louis Arena, winning the CCHA championship in 2007 and finishing fourth last year. The Irish will take an 29-5-3 overall record into the game and are the CCHA regular-season champions, finishing the season with a 21-4-3-3 mark in conference play this year.
The second semifinal game will be played at 8:05 p.m. with second-place Michigan facing either Alaska or Ohio State as those two teams are playing in Fairbanks tonight.
The third-place game and championship game will be played at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday, March 21 with the third-place contest starting at 3:35 p.m. and the title tilt facing off at 7:35 p.m.